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Lifestyle Changes Must To Prevent Development Of Non-Communicable Diseases


The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the dangers of communicable and infectious diseases to the limelight all across the world. The case for India was no different. The use of masks, handwashes, and sanitisers has become a permanent part of our lives. Unfortunately, the same level of awareness is not to be seen when it comes to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). According to World Health Organization, NCDs, such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and chronic lung disease, collectively account for 74% of all deaths worldwide.

A 2017 study report titled “India: Health of the Nation’s States”, which mapped the state-level disease burden in Indian states broached this subject. The report, released by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), estimated that the percentage of fatalities due to non-communicable illnesses in the country has increased from 37.9% in 1990 to 61.8% in 2016.

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Another piece of tough news regarding NCDs, which is typically present in people aged 55 years or over in several countries, is that they have been noticed to have an early onset in India- occurring at 45 years of age or above.

The presence of multiple chronic conditions, in addition to the fact many go undiagnosed owing to the lack of awareness and inadequate access to healthcare add to the problems.

The four major NCDs in the country, and globally, are cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs) and diabetes. These four have certain common risk factors responsible for causing them. These are listed as the use of tobacco, consumption of alcohol, unhealthy diet, and lack of physical activity.

To reduce the risk of developing non-communicable diseases is to control the risk factors that cause them. Primarily, these involve lifestyle changes such as reducing the use of tobacco, limiting the consumption of alcohol, and exercising. Of course, a healthy and balanced diet is key to avoiding non-communicable diseases.

This is backed by experts and statistics as well. In an interview with Hindustan Times, Dr Ajay Phadke, MD in Pathology – Head at SRL Dr Avinash Phadke Labs suggested, “The combination of four healthy lifestyle factors — maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, following a nutritious diet, and not smoking — is associated with an 80 per cent reduction in the risk of developing the most common and deadly chronic diseases.”

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